Rugby League talking points: Farewell Eddie Hemmings, Hull FC's reality check and Wigan finally win
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 23/04/19 11:54am
Eddie Hemmings' wave goodbye, relief for Wigan, and Hull FC crashing back down to earth feature in this week's talking points...
Farewell Eddie and Nev
It was a landmark Good Friday clash between Wigan and St Helens as the voice of rugby league hung up his microphone after over four decades.
Sky's anchorman in the sport since 1990, Eddie Hemmings' "wide to West" commentary a decade later in the 2000 play-off game between Saints and Bradford acquired legendary status.
But he has now followed his long-term sidekick Mike Stephenson into retirement. Since Stevo's retirement, Eddie built new bonds with Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor, and will be greatly missed by them, along with the rest of the presentation team of Brian Carney, Phil Clarke and Jon Wells.
"Thirty years doing the same job, for the same television company, for the same sport - it's almost a record," said Hemmings, who has been joined by Head of Rugby League Neville Smith in leaving in his position.
Smith played an integral role in securing prominent television coverage for the sport, and both he and Eddie will be missed by everyone at Sky Sports Rugby League.
Naiqama's four-try salvo for St Helens
Saints boss Justin Holbrook heaped praise on his four-try star Kevin Naiqama after he produced a stellar performance for the league leaders against Hull FC.
The Fijian centre was everywhere for St Helens, who scored 11 tries against an outclassed Hull FC, and Holbrook believes the former Wests Tiger is beginning to produce his best form since his move from the NRL.
"Kevin is making a big impact for us," Holbrook said of Naiqama, who has scored six tries since the start of the season.
"He's starting to really step things up and now the better weather is here and the dry tracks are coming into play, we'll be seeing the best of him."
The emphatic victory for St Helens maintains their four-point lead over second-placed Warrington and capped a fine Easter Weekend.
Back down to earth for Hull FC
The Black and Whites lost 62-16 to the leaders, undoing some of the good feeling that was around after their record derby victory over Hull KR on Friday.
Lee Radford was short and sweet in his assessment of the result and his side's performance, conceding they were no match for St Helens.
When asked why the result was in such a contrasting nature to Friday's derby success, he said: "We have to go back to the drawing board now.
"If that's what the top two is, we clearly have some way to go to get to that. It highlights the importance of our next game."
That comes at the KCOM as they welcome third-placed Wakefield Trinity who responded to their defeat to Castleford with a narrow win against Leeds.
Finally, a win for Wigan
After a run of three successive Super League defeats, reigning champions Wigan Warriors secured a much-needed victory against Salford Red Devils.
Salford threatened to inflict further misery on Wigan as they moved 24-20 ahead in the second-half but Zak Hardaker sealed the win for the visitors four minutes from time.
Wigan started the day in 10th position, level on points with bottom sides Leeds and London Broncos, but maybe the clarity over the head coach role following Shaun Edwards' U-turn can help the club for the remainder of the campaign.
Head coach Adrian Lam praised the "courage" of his players and is confident they can now start to climb the table.
The visit of Castleford Tigers - who will want a response after defeat to Catalans Dragons - on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, should act as a good measure of what they can achieve this season.
Toronto unrelenting in top-tier quest
Toronto Wolfpack continue to set the pace in the Championship as they moved to 10 victories from their opening 11 games of the season - all on the road - with a 23-14 win against Featherstone Rovers.
The sides had split their meetings last season with Featherstone winning 30-12 on the road so the fixture was a good barometer for how the Canadian side were faring this term.
The visitors were made to work hard once again as they needed late tries from Andrew Dixon and Matty Russell in the final five minutes to seal a fifth straight win.
"It was an 80-minute performance from both squads but it was good to get away with the win at the end," said Toronto centre Rickey Leutele. "I think it was a well-deserved win too."
Toronto, four points clear of nearest chasers Toulouse and Sheffield Eagles. will now open their home schedule against the Swinton Lions on Sunday in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Lamport Stadium.